World News

Former president Bill Clinton declined to call tax inversions "unpatriotic" on Tuesday, shying away from a term that President Obama has used repeatedly against companies that take advantage of the maneuver. 

Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative, Clinton was asked to weigh in on the offshore tax deals that Democrats have been attacking ahead of the midterm elections.

"Are corporate inversions unpatriotic?" asked CNBC's Becky Quick.

"Well, whether it is or not, companies — particularly those that are answering to shareholders — have a short-term perspective. A lot of these companies feel duty-bound to pay the lowest taxes they can pay," Clinton responded. 

"We have to come to terms with the fact that everyone else in the world has stopped taxing on the difference between what their companies earn in a different country and at home," Clinton said. 

Jeb Bush will be the star attraction at a Republican fundraiser in South Carolina next month, his first trip to an early presidential primary state as a possible contender for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Bush, the former governor of Florida and a darling of the Republican Party's donor class, will headline a closed-door October 23 fundraiser for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by CNN.

From a White House "fact sheet" on climate change:

President Obama announced an Executive Order on Climate-Resilient International Development, requiring agencies to factor climate-resilience considerations systematically into the U.S. government’s international development work and to promote a similar approach with multilateral entities.   U.S. financial support for adaptation activities in developing countries has increased eightfold since 2009; such dedicated funding is critical.  At the same time, the magnitude of the challenge requires not just dedicated adaptation finance flows but also a broader, integrated approach.  Development investments in areas as diverse as eradicating malaria, building hydropower facilities, improving agricultural yields, and developing transportation systems will not be effective in the long term if they do not account for impacts such as shifting ranges of disease-carrying mosquitoes, changing water availability, or rising sea levels, thereby reducing the effectiveness of taxpayer money.  This new Executive Order will:

  • Improve the resilience of the Federal Government’s international development programs, projects, investments, overseas facilities, and other funding decisions through consideration of current and future climate-change impacts, as appropriate;
  • Share knowledge, data, tools, information, frameworks, and lessons learned in incorporating climate-resilience considerations; and
  • Complement efforts by the Federal Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home and globally.

President Barack Obama spoke on the airstrikes launched Monday night by the U.S. and five Arab countries against Islamic State targets in eastern Syria, saying "this is not America's fight alone."

"America's proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security," Obama said, noting over 40 nations have offered to help.

Obama said the U.S. will move forward with a plan to train and equip the Syrian opposition, noting that plan of action is "supported by bipartisan majorities in Congress."

A UPS employee opened fire Tuesday morning inside one of the company's warehouses in Alabama, killing two people before committing suicide, police said.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper told reporters that the gunman was wearing his uniform when he started shooting either in or near some offices inside the warehouse in an industrial area just north of the Birmingham airport. The sand-colored building sits on a hill and has UPS logos on the front and side. It has a parking lot surrounded by barbed wire.

The gunman had apparently shot himself by the time officers got inside the warehouse, Roper said.

Following a summer of race-related turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri, Americans of all backgrounds are more likely to see the criminal justice system as racially biased, according to a just-released annual survey by the Public Religion Research Institute on the economy, politics, race, and religion.

Americans remain divided on questions of race and discrimination, despite a notable shift in their perceptions of the criminal justice system. In 2013, Americans were evenly split on the question of whether the criminal justice system was racially biased; in 2014 a majority say it is. The change is driven by shifts across all the demographic groups surveyed.

A California nonprofit is suing Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and other big coffee chains over cancer warning labels on drinks. The group, Council for Education and Research on Toxins (CERT), claims the caffeinated brown stuff these companies sell to millions of sleepy customers every day contains a carcinogen called acrylamide. 

A Wisconsin couple's act of compassion could end up costing them big time.

Throughout the past year and a half, Brenda Konkel and Robert Bloch of Madison have been allowing homeless people to store belongings in lockers on their front porch and letting those without shelter sleep there, too, according to the Madison Capital Times. But after a neighbor complained to the City of Madison that Konkel and Bloch were providing such services, local authorities concluded the couple was breaking the law. If Konkel and Bloch don't get rid of the lockers and stop allowing guests to sleep on their front porch this week, they'll be facing a $300 daily fine.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal prison population has dropped this year by roughly 4,800 inmates, the first decline in decades. Holder is speaking Tuesday at a criminal justice conference in New York City.

According to excerpts of his speech, the Justice Department expects to end the current fiscal year next week with a federal prison population of roughly 215,000 inmates.

The government's own watchdogs tried to hack into earlier this year and found what they termed a critical vulnerability — but also came away with respect for some of the health insurance site's security features. Those are among the conclusions of a report being released Tuesday by the Health and Human Services Department inspector general, who focuses on health care fraud.

The report amounts to a mixed review for the federal website that serves as the portal to taxpayer-subsidized health plans for millions of Americans. Open enrollment season starts Nov. 15.

So-called "white hat" or ethical hackers from the inspector general's office found a weakness, but when they attempted to exploit it like a malicious hacker would, they were blocked by the system's defenses.